WENATCHEE, Wash. - The Wenatchee AppleSox (21-23, 18-22) used early runs, and great pitching to take a 1-0 lead in their series against the Yakima Valley Pippins (23-19, 21-19). The AppleSox won 11-4 in game one and are three games off the WCL Wild Card lead.
Mitch Yada (2-3) had a great first inning, but quickly ran into trouble against the AppleSox Wenatchee hit him for two runs in the second inning on a Kyle Vanderkin 2-RBI single to left field, and the Sox never looked back.
Wenatchee piled on four more runs in the third on four hits and two Pippin errors. Four separate players earned RBI in the inning, including: Evan Douglas, Keston Hiura, Mitchell Holland and Nick Nyquist. Holland ended the night 3-for-5 with all three of his hits coming in his first three at bats.
Tyler Burch (1-0), a former temporary arm for the AppleSox, and member of the Apple Valley Packers this summer, pitched tremendously in his first AppleSox start. The Pippins backed him into a couple corners early in the game, but each time in the first five innings Burch responded when baserunners were aboard and got out of innings unscathed.
In the sixth he did give up a run in an inning that started with a Jace VanDeBrake triple to right center field. VanDeBrake went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Another run came home on Burch in the seventh on a balk, followed by a sacrifice fly that made the score 9-3, Wenatchee. Colton Loomis took over and got the final out of the inning.
All told, Burch pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up just five hits and three runs, with five walks and two strikeouts.
The AppleSox got the Pippins two top-half runs back in the bottom of the seventh, on a 2-RBI single for Hiura, up the middle with the bases loaded. He had two hits on the night and 3 RBI.
Each side saw three batters to the plate in the eighth. Alex Guenette earned a single for the Pippins in the final at bat of the top of the inning, but tried to extend it to a double and was gunned down by Sheldon Liikala at second base from foul territory along the right field line.
Dayton Provost did put a charge into one in the ninth, knocking a solo home run to right field, but it was too little, too late, for the Pippins, who fell 11-4.
Luckily for Yakima Valley, Corvallis also lost Friday, so the Wild Card race is still even between those two teams.
Game two of the series is tonight at 7:05 p.m. Micael Taylor (1-4), will face Jens Jensen (4-0), in a potentially series-deciding game for the AppleSox.